Delphine (old posts, page 5)

Why?

Delphine (still) asks us why a lot. Sadly, sometimes I don't have a good answer, which sort of led to the conversation we had this afternoon.

[First scene. Two cactuses are dancing.]
Delphine: "Why are the cactuses?"
Me: "Well, uh, they just are. Questions about why a thing is don't really have answers."

[Next scene. A goat has paint on himself.]
Delphine: "Why is he dirty?"
Me: "..."
Delphine: "He's dirty cause he was painting."

So, I guess some questions about why a thing is something are easy to answer but some questions about why a thing is something have no good answer. Can anyone tell me what the difference between the questions is, and how to explain it to a three-year-old without using words like "intrinsic", or "just because"?

The English Language is Putty In Her Hands

Yesterday Delphine and Cordelia and I went out to run some errands. On the way home Delphine said, "Do you remember the Vikings? In Daddy's movie?"

I didn't remember, but she went on to tell me the story of the Vikings, most of which I missed but which ended with "They went home. The end."

Then she decided she was going to be a Viking, so she put on her imaginary Viking helmet and charged around happily shouting "Vike! Vike! Vike!"

Conversations with Delphine, Part X

Power

We installed new compact fluorescents in the bathroom because the government told us to. Delphine, of course, doesn't miss a trick, and she said,

"It's all white!"

"Yeah, we changed the light bulbs."

"Why?"

"These ones use less power."

"Power like the genie [from Aladdin]?"

Okay, that's not particularly funny, I just love to watch her learn these new concepts and piece together the world. And her perspective makes me think; is electric power the same as genie power?

We're also working on homonyms (not really working on, I just happened to get a book called Did You Say Pears? by Arlene Alda out of the library, and it is about homonyms and homophones, so she's had them on her mind lately), and the other day she said "There are two mangoes! Mango the colour, and mango the fruit!" And I wasn't sure whether to correct her or not; it's not exactly a homophone because the two words are obviously related, but I hate to split hairs with her on something so esoteric. She's three!

Poop

Today we had everyone over for dinner. After we were all finished eating Delphine decided she had to use the facilities, which are unfortunately right next to the dining area, and she still does all her business with the door open. So she did her thing, which of course turned out to be pretty noisy, and we all laughed.

"Are you laughing at me? I just farted!"

"Farts are funny," I said, which provoked a short discussion about why it's not funny when Zaida farts. I said we're laughing on the inside.

Then Delphine said "I have lots of farts. I'm full of farts!"

And then she got off the toilet and assumed the "please wipe my bum" position so I had to excuse myself and take care of her business while trying not to pee myself laughing. Ah, parenthood.

Alarming Things They Say

My daughter the goth: "I like to be dead." She talks about being dead a lot, but I don't think it means what she thinks it means, because apparently it can be cured by eating corn.

My daughter the lesbian: "I like chicks."

My daughter the... I don't even know if there is a word for this. We were reading a book with a picture of a skeleton, and Delphine said, "I have a penis." Me: "Really?" "Yes. It's in my bum. It's a bone. Seth said I do." (Seth is this really sweet tiny blonde boy in her daycare room. He is responsible for a fair bit of misinformation around here.)

Conversations with Delphine: Bedtime Edition

I mentioned in a previous post that Delphine likes to postpone the actual sleep part of bedtime by coming up with ingenius time-wasting requests. I will be sitting in the living room and I will hear the quiet click of the bedroom door opening, and Delphine will emerge in her adorable pajamas and look at me with improbably large eyes and say "Mummy..." I regard her seriously, and after a moment of silence I say "Yes?"

And she says "I need another buddy." Or, "I need cold fresh water." Or, "I need a cuddle." And today, the best yet,

"Can I be a juggler?"

I took a deep breath, tried not to laugh: "Yes, when you grow up you can be a juggler, but right now you have to go to sleep."

And she solemnly turned around and climbed back into bed.

Let's Pretend

Delphine is seldom Delphine. Sometimes she's Pooh, and I'm Piglet. Sometimes she's the mummy, and I'm the baby. Sometimes she's Ursa, and I'm Delphine. Sometimes I am Stella and she's Sam, and sometimes I am Sam and she's Stella. Lately, she has been Corduroy and I have been Lisa.

She has a tremendous imagination. Today she pretended a calendar on the wall was a baby, and she was rocking it to sleep. Any pair of things where one is bigger than the other become a mummy and baby: "Mummy spoon, mummy spoon, I am sad! Want up mummy spoon!" And she holds the baby spoon approximately halfway up the mummy spoon.

Yesterday she and Blake were playing with balls, and they held them on their heads and Delphine said "Look Mummy! We got two heads!"

It's so much fun being along for the ride with her amazing little brain.

Delphine: Three and a Month

Today Delphine is at daycare. Blake is in Montreal on business so to lighten my load, my in-laws took Delphine for a sleep-over last night. She was really excited to go: "Can I sleep in the crib?" They have a Pack n' Play and Delphine still loves to sleep in it even though she can't stretch out in it any more. This afternoon I will go and pick her up from daycare at around 4:30; when I get there Cordelia will be mobbed by all the little children who are not lucky enough to have a baby sister, and Delphine will play it cool, walking away from me and finding something else to do. After a few minutes she will come back and show me what she is doing, and then she will say "Wanna go home." And we will walk around the corner and down the block, stopping to examine an ant or some broken glass, and to step up onto the entrance at Pizza Pizza.

She's good company these days. She is hardly ever arbitrarily defiant any more; mostly she is compliant and friendly, and if she isn't it's because she's tired or hungry or she wants to wrest your attention away from Cordelia.

I'm feeling a little sad lately because we don't read as much as we used to, because of Cordelia. I used to literally sit and read to her for an hour or more, but Cordelia isn't old enough to sit and be read to yet, so she comes and crawls all over us and pulls the book away and is generally a nuisance. I try and read to Delphine while Cordelia is napping, but I also have to fit in sundry housework in the hour she's asleep, so we usually don't get through more than a couple of books. I hope once Cordelia is old enough to be read to properly we can go back to our old habits.

Cordelia is, unfortunately for Delphine, at that Godzilla stage where she lumbers around the house destroying things because that is all she is capable of; she pulls books off shelves and bends them and mouths them, she overturns towers of blocks and deranges puzzles. As an adult I can accept this, knowing it is temporary, and I can move my precious things to high places, but Delphine can't. She's stuck down there at Cordelia's level and she doesn't appreciate my "she's just a baby" excuses. I wish Delphine had her own room where she could keep things, but for now she is just going to have to suck it up. I suppose it will build character. In a way it's nice that she gets to go to daycare and be free of the barbarian horde for a few hours.

Other than those unfortunate incidents, Delphine gets along quite well with Cordelia. She knows that you are not supposed to snatch toys from her, that if she has something you want you have to find something else for her to play with in exchange. She shares her food with Cordelia and she knows to ask what babies can have. She knows to be quiet when Cordelia is sleeping. She likes to make Cordelia laugh. She is a good big sister.


They have this chart of verbal development which tell you when you should worry -- say, if your three-year-old isn't forming sentences or if your one-and-a-half-year-old doesn't say five words or something. The chart goes up to age five and apparently if Delphine were five, we wouldn't need to worry about her verbal development. She knows colours, she asks the meaning of words, she counts to ten, she knows all the nursery rhymes. She knows nursery rhymes you haven't even heard of.

She's starting to show signs of literacy; she knows that letters are associated with sounds, and she has started asking "what does that say" when we read books. She can recognize some words, although I am still not sure if it is recognition of the word or just remembering what that particular instance of that particular word is. I mean, we were reading an Eric Carle book and I pointed to the word "Eric" and asked her what it was. She got it right, but did she recognize the word "Eric" or did she remember it was "Eric" from the last time we read the same book? Either way it's a step in the right direction; all we need to do now is teach her the correct spelling for "Erik".

I feel like I am being too braggy and I should try and think of something bad to say about Delphine, but I am not trying to brag. I just really like her.

Delphine is Three!

Delphine just turned three. We went out to visit my parents in Saskatchewan for her birthday, and they furnished a suitable amount of cake, candles, fancy decorations and presents to satisfy her little self. We had a nice time.

We went to the doctor this morning for Delphine's three year checkup. She was a little nervous, but it turned out she didn't get any shots, so that wasn't so bad. She lay down on the examination table properly, opened her mouth nice and wide, and let the doctor check out all her vitals. Generally she is doing fine, although a little small for her age -- around the 40th percentile for height and a little lower for weight. We're not concerned about it because she eats well, but we'll do the measurements again at 3 and a half, just in case there is something up so we can catch it early.

And Cordelia is awake. Thus ends the blogging for this month...

Things That Have Made Delphine Cry

  • the oatmeal gun in that one Wallace and Gromit short movie
  • the angry people in Frog Goes to Dinner
  • the crying pirate in a Wiggles video (He's crying because no little ducks came back.)

She's so sensitive! On the one hand I love that she's not cynical and blase about everything, but on the other hand I hope she toughens up. She's only (almost) three, she has time.